20 interesting facts about Mont Blanc
The sight of mighty Mont Blanc is breath-taking and many travellers are keen to see the stunning French mountain during a trip to the Alps. Walkers can complete on the famous Tour du Mont Blanc, a classic circuit of the Mont Blanc massif, while more experienced climbers may be keen to reach the summit.
Here we reveal some fascinating facts about Mont Blanc.
- Mont Blanc is French for White Mountain.
- With a summit of 15,777ft (4,809m), Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps and in Europe.
- The height of Mont Blanc varies each year depending on the depth of the summit’s snowcap. While the official elevation was once 15,770ft, in 2002 it was measured to be 15,777ft. From any view of angle, Mont Blanc is a breath-taking sight.
- The mountain ranked 11th in the world in topographic prominence.
- The mountain is located in the French Alps, very close to the border with Italy.
- Mont Blanc is “owned” by both France and Italy under a bilateral agreement and is called Monte Bianco in Italy.
- Mont Blanc's summit is in France, although a subsidiary lower summit is located some 100ft from the highest point and is called Monte Bianco di Courmayeur. This is considered to be Italy’s highest point.
- A seven-mile long Mont Blanc tunnel links France with Italy and travels directly underneath the mountain.
- The lowest recorded temperature on Mont Blanc is -43°C, set in January 1893.
- The first ascent of Mont Blanc was in August 1786 by Jacque Balmat and Michel Paccard.
- In 1808, Marie Paradis became the first woman to reach the summit of Mont Blanc.
- There have been two notable speed ascents: Swiss climber Pierre-André Gobet climbed Mont Blanc in a round trip from Chamonix in 5 hours, 10 minutes, and 14 seconds in 1990. On July 11, 2013, Basque speed climber and runner Kilian Jornet did the ascent and descent in just 4 hours 57 minutes 40 seconds.
- More than 20,000 climbers reach the summit of the mountain every year.
- While summiting Mont Blanc is an exciting goal for many mountaineers in Europe, walkers can also enjoy hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc, a circuit of the Mont Blanc massif that offers superb views at every turn. Macs Adventure offer a variety of different ways to walk the Tour du Mont Blanc.
- The Walker’s Haute Route links Mont Blanc with another mighty European summit, the Matterhorn and offers a thrilling and picturesque hike (or ski).
- The French town of Chamonix is located at the base foot of Mont Blanc where the first Winter Olympic Games were held in 1924.
- Mont Blanc is regarded by many as the birthplace of modern mountaineering.
- A cable car crosses the mountain range from Courmayeur to Chamonix, through the Col du Géant.
- Two passenger aircraft have crashed into the mountain in 1950 and 1966. Sadly, 160 people were killed.
- In 1960, pilot Henri Giraud landed a small aircraft on the summit of Mont Blanc. Find out more about the Tour du Mont Blanc at Macs Adventure.